Yes, I know it’s actually Labor Day–I’m not quite that far behind! However, tomorrow, my youngest child starts preschool, and since I’m not averse to paying an extra three dollars a day, that means–wait for it–THREE FULL HOURS A DAY ALONE–FOR WRITING! And I sorely need it. I’ve barely looked at the WIP since the end of June, and I’m looking forward to all the time I’ll have to get it into submission condition….
Or will I?
Since I know I’m not alone in my struggle to balance motherhood and writing, I had planned to dedicate this blog entry to discussing ways in which we can enjoy both roles. However, in the last week, I’ve found a more insidious threat to my writing life emerging…my desire to please other people.
I was aware, whenever I fantasized about my school year writing schedule, that not all of my time could be devoted to writing. I need to get an exercise routine going, for example. There’s that dental appointment I should probably confront. There will be occasional PTO and school volunteer duties, as well as the weekly trudge through the grocery store. For the most part, however, I planned to hole up somewhere with my laptop and revise until my eyeballs fell out.
Then, last week, I made the mistake of mentioning my desire to get in shape to a casual friend. Being a take-charge individual, she immediately declared that she would walk with me for fifteen minutes every morning. Being taken aback, I kind of nodded. Then she went on, telling me that we would build up to forty-five minutes a day…. That sucking sound I heard was my precious alone time, roiling down the drain. Because I needed that space, either circling the neighborhood, taking the dog to the park, or straightening the house, to gradually move from my real life to my imaginary world. I would not be able to do that carrying on a conversation, or thinking someone else’s thoughts. Was I just being selfish? Should I learn to be more flexible? Would I end up a friendless hermit?
Then I complained to a friend who is a professional pianist, who told me that she, too, needed that extra mental space to be able to immerse herself in her playing and composing. I remembered all of the articles that remind us aspiring writers that we need to treat writing as a job long before it actually becomes one. I thought of the women I know who have already “made it,” who have friends, family, even day jobs, but who take their writing seriously enought to make time for it.
And I’ll have to make time, too. It never makes itself. Tomorrow, I’ll have to explain to my friend that I really need the mornings to work on my book. It will feel uncomfortable–I never like telling someone “no.” But I can do it, and so can you. Are you frustrated with your lack of writing time? Feeling that your writing dream is fading, and wondering if you should even bother? Think about your weekly schedule. Is there something you can cut, to give you that precious hour or two alone? As women, we often believe that we should be all things to all people, and if you are a religious woman, as I am, you also feel the need to serve God by serving others. But each of us has something we can drop without much consequence. What can you say no to? How do you make time for writing? Share your strategies in the comments!